You’ve waited long enough. Whether you’re a marketing firm owner, small business owner, or marketing professional, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: everything concerning digital marketing is expanding and evolving, and you DON’T want to get left behind.
One of the most obvious indicators is digital ad spending. While it only shot up 2.4% in 2020, it’s expected to shoot up 17% in 2021 to $389 billion (Source: eMarketer). To put that number in perspective, the global spend on ALL advertising was $657 billion in 2020 (Source: Magna).
Even so, many people still resist digital marketing personally, professionally, and within their businesses (and possibly even their marketing firms).
If you’ve been “interneting” even a little bit, you’re probably familiar with this meme:
Super funny! However, did you know that this is just the first part of the comic? In the original, the dog’s face MELTS. Another artist did a revised version that includes the frame you see above followed by several frames like the one below:
I hate to say it, but if you haven’t started to develop your digital marketing skills, this will be you before too long.
Why Aren’t You Digital Marketing?
There is a single overwhelming reason why you may have delayed your digital marketing development for so long: you are resistant to change.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a professor at Harvard Business Review, outlined ten reasons why people are resistant to change. I paraphrase the points below but I recommend you read the whole thing to truly understand the situation:
|Loss of Control: Change interferes with autonomy.|
|Excess Uncertainty: Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.|
|Surprise, Surprise: Sudden changes are easy to say no to.|
|Everything Seems Different: We are creatures of habit and change is uncomfortable.|
|Loss of Face: People are defensive that the old methods (their methods) are being superseded.|
|Concerns About Competence: Change is resisted when it makes people feel stupid.|
|More Work: Change is more work.|
|Ripple Effects: Change disrupts departments, customers, etc.|
|Past Resentments: Change reminds people of their past ghosts.|
|Sometimes the Threat is Real: Change is resisted because it can hurt.|
Digital marketing is the biggest change in marketing since the television, and is actually a much greater one at that. The digital marketing environment is growing, evolving, and changing every single minute. Going from zero to a baseline understanding of online marketing is like drinking from a firehose that’s whipping around uncontrollably, and also on fire.
In regards to Professor Kanter’s list above, you’re dealing with all ten on a regular basis. Here is just a short list of SOME of the situations you will face online as a digital marketer:
- New advertising and social media platforms emerging on a regular basis.
- Existing platforms rules and regulations shifting due to societal and political concerns.
- Device (desktop, mobile, tablet, VR, etc.) updates, developments, and launches.
- Content volume requirements exceeding previous methods by orders of magnitude.
- Increased competition due to lower costs of entry and operation thanks to digital marketing availability and affordability.
- Creative asset requirements requiring graphic design, photography, videography, animation, etc.
- Analytical assessment skills to understand and employ a massive amount of data points provided by digital marketing.
When you say “digital marketing” to someone who has been resistant to the modern environment, they probably just think of online ads a la Facebook and Google. That’s wrong not just because there are dozens (and more likely hundreds) of unique aspects of digital marketing, it’s wrong because it shows a lack of understanding about the digital environment itself.
That environment is providing instant access to everything about your brand. It’s not just your products and services and their corresponding ads. It provides public access to your brand’s overall image, mission, personality, voice, and intelligence (or lack thereof).
Think of your brand like a person attending the largest speed-dating event ever held and you can start to understand how exposed you are online. When people meet your brand are they impressed by what they see, what they hear, and how they feel about your brand’s actions and presence? How could you improve your presentation?
Digital marketing isn’t a change to be feared, it’s an opportunity to be connected to your audience like never before. Either way, your brand is attending that mega-speed-dating event and you don’t want it to be alone at the end of it.
How to Become a Digital Marketer
Let’s assume that you’ve acknowledged and conquered your resistance to change. Congratulations! You can now start the path to becoming a digital marketer, a profession and skillset that you will use for many, many years.
STEP 1: Determine Your Digital Marketing Position
The skills you’ll need to develop are determined by the position that you’ll be employing. A kid with a graphic design degree does not need the same skills as a senior marketing manager or owner of a small, local business.
You can’t learn everything all at once, and in many cases you may not need all of the skills related to digital marketing. Pick your role and then determine the skills you’ll need for that role.
In regards to DigitalMarketer, we send the people who need the nuts and bolts of digital marketing to the Lab, the professionals and business owners who want to learn about marketing management and execution to Elite, and marketing firms and professionals who want an out-of-the-box white-label offering to our Certified Partners program.
STEP 2: Develop the Necessary Digital Marketing Skills to Perform in Your Position
What’s the best way to banish fear? Knowledge, experience, and expertise. You need to learn the skills then practice and hone them over time. One of the great things about digital marketing is the availability of instant feedback.
Take paid advertising online for example; within 24 hours of running an ad on Facebook, you’ll know if and how it works. You can test demographics, creative assets, ad copy, and funnels immediately.
This instant feedback on your new skills will provide you with the motivation to keep learning and growing.
STEP 3: Network with Other Newbs and Pros in Your Position
Like any new skill, long-term motivation is going to be paramount in your success. You need experienced professionals to consult when you have questions, and you need other digital marketing newbies to lean on when you get discouraged.
Think of it like a gym membership, are you more likely to show up if you have a trainer there to tell you how and what to do? Are you going to get up and go if your training buddy is there to pick you up at 5am or not?
Join free online communities and see what everyone is doing (or you could just join us of course).
STEP 4: Embrace Change & Start Evolving with the Digital Marketing World
Digital marketing isn’t like learning to ride a bike. You can’t do it once and expect to use those same skills to succeed in the future. You need to be flexible, purposeful, and motivated to continue to develop.
Fortunately, we’ve made that easy at DigitalMarketer.
You Can Be the Digital Marketer You’ve Always Wanted to Be
We’ve been helping individuals, marketing professionals, business owners, and marketing firms become better digital marketers since 2011. Our founder Ryan Diess literally wrote the book on digital marketing.
What we offer goes beyond courses, workshops, and certifications (although we have hundreds of those as well). We offer a community of digital marketing professionals invested in your success, and the literal ability to sell marketing through our Certified Partner program and our Ambassador affiliate program.
You have a choice now. Embrace the need to develop digital marketing proficiency, or keep resisting change (I’m sure it will be fine).